Existing relationship with agent key to Alpharetta move

A Google search helped Darryl and Karen Dodson discover that the agent who sold them their home in New York was now working in Atlanta. Reconnecting with Toni L’Hommedieu of Weichert Realty Preferred gave them a familiar face in the Atlanta area and eased the transition for the couple.

Why Atlanta?

A job transfer for Karen, who works for Travelers’ Insurance, led the couple and their 14-year-old twins, Maya and Trent, to Alpharetta. The family sold their home on Long Island, N.Y., after the Hurricane Sandy aftermath, Darryl said.

“It was always kind of in the back of our mind that we were going to try to locate perhaps to the South,” said Darryl, who graduated from Morehouse College. “We liked the area and knew it was some place we could thrive.”

Putting down roots

The biggest thing they heard about moving to Atlanta was that they needed to live where they worked, due to traffic. With Karen’s job in Alpharetta, they looked in north Fulton County neighborhoods such as Windward, which was about a 5-minute commute. Darryl, an insurance agent, needed to be able to reach an interstate easily, since he flies out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport when traveling to New York for work.

When the Dodsons knew they were moving to Atlanta, Darryl discovered that L’Hommedieu was still in the real estate business.

“We were able to have her preview a lot of homes. She knew our taste,” he said.

Their home on Long Island was a postmodern-style home often found in the suburbs, and they wanted to stick with that style, but hoped to find four-sided brick, Darryl said. The family also looked for gated communities, having lived in one on Long Island. Plus, their son had a list of requirements, including a three-car garage and amenities such as tennis courts and a pool.

During a trip to Atlanta, they found a golf course home in Windward with a three-car garage, walkout basement and perks such as a media room with a 100-inch screen. “That’s something that we never thought we would have in a home,” he said.

The house had been on the market for about two years, and their research showed the price dropped from more than $1.2 million in 2010 to $975,000 to their purchase price of $800,000 in late 2012. The Dodsons got an offer on their New York home the week before Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012. The family moved to Alpharetta in December 2012.

Relocation tip

The Dodsons subscribed to news updates on the Alpharetta and Milton Patch.com sites. A Google search and “divine intervention,” Darryl said, also helped them find an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) girls basketball team for Maya. Through online research, he learned about Peak Performance Basketball, a youth basketball program in Alpharetta. “We were able to find a good travel team locally for her, so she’s able to jump right in,” he said. “To have that activity really helped her and the family integrate into the community.”

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